Manno Charlemagne performs at Duke

by Catherine Angst

“Òganizasyon mondyal yo pa pou nou yo ye…” Manno Charlemagne voice reverberates through Duke’s Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall in his native Haitian Creole. Charlemagne’s velvet vocals harmonize with his acoustic guitar as he repeats to the large crowd, “Òganizasyon mondyal yo pa pou nou yo ye…” a message that translates roughly as, “Global organizations are not in our interest”.

As a singer and songwriter, Charlemagne’s politically charged chansons have scored the soundtrack of Haiti’s political protest for over 30 years. Born in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince in 1948, Charlemagne music was influenced by traditional Haitian twoubadou performers and shaped by the “kilti libète” or freedom culture movement of 1970s Haiti. Throughout the 1980s, Charlemagne’s songs stood in opposition to and captured the injustice of the Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier regime.

Jacques Pierre, co-director of Duke’s Haiti Lab, coordinated the Charlemagne concert. In addition to directing the Haiti Lab, Pierre teaches Haitian Creole in Duke’s Romance Studies Department.  “I wanted to bring Manno to campus because my Intermediate Creole students are working with his songs. Also, I wanted to share his performance with the Haitian community in the Triangle area, so they could reconnect with many of his songs from the 1980s and 90s which are still very powerful and moving,” said Pierre.

As an ambassador of Haitian culture on campus, Pierre coordinates several Haitian events throughout the year including the upcoming International Haitian Creole Day on October 28th, and an Haitian film festival which takes place in the spring.  Pierre’s students, Duke faculty, and members of the Haitian diaspora filled the audience on September 23rd to listen to Charlemagne’s sharp lyrics, enjoy the Haitian rhythms, and reflect on the importance that art and music can have in political histories.

 

video by Jennifer Prather

 

The Manno Charlemagne concert was supported by Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the department of African and African American Studies, Duke’s Center for International and Global Studies, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Haiti Lab, and the department of Romance Studies.

Middle East Explained

The Duke-UNC Consortium for the Middle East Studies recently launched a new video series, “Middle East Explained” aimed to provide digital teaching tools for middle and high school teachers. Emma Harver, the Consortium for the Middle East Studies Program and Outreach Coordinator, conceived of the video series after surveying a group of North Carolina educators about teaching the Middle East last spring.

“71% (of the educators surveyed) said they would likely teach more about the Middle East if they has more resources,” said Harver. The digital pedagogy project plans to provide free, creditable, expert teaching modules with each 5-10 minute video packaged with a downloadable guides for both teachers and students. The Middle East Explained premiered its first video, “The Historical Roots of the Syrian Refugee Crisis” on September 7, 2016. In the video, Dr. miriam cooke, the Braxton Craven Professor Arab Cultures at Duke University, provides the historical context key to understanding why so many Syrians have fled their homes.

Harver plans to create more “Middle East Explained” modules throughout the academic year that align with the North Carolina curriculum. The series intends to develop modules on the Iraq War, the Sykes-Picot agreement, the Arab Spring, and more. “My hope is that this project will deepen understanding of this important region in an approachable manner by sharing the expertise of the Duke and UNC with the greater North Carolina community,” said Harver.

The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, founded in 2005, is a collaboration between the Duke University Middle East Studies Center and the Carolina Center for the Studies of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations at the University of North Carolina. The “Middle East Explained” project is made possible by the support of the John Hope Franklin Center and a Title VI grant from the United States Department of Education.

 

Will ‘Hamilton’ change how actors of color are cast?

By Camille Jackson

Theater-goers trying to figure out the surprising success of the musical “Hamilton,” which casts actors of color in the role of the founding fathers, should start with one particular reason, say two leading observers of musical theater: its hip hop soundtrack.

“Broadway musicals are supposed to produce hits. When rock took over it became popular music. When hip hop and rap took over, it became popular but [before Hamilton] there were no hip-hop musicals,” said William Henry Curry, the resident conductor for the NC Symphony.

Read more: https://today.duke.edu/2016/09/will-hamilton-change-how-actors-color-are-cast